Discerning Your Time – Week 4 – Where do I stand?

Where do I stand?

Hosea 10:11 – Jehovah’s view of Spiritual and Practical living

Hosea 10:11 Ephraim is a trained (experienced) Calf that loves to thresh

(to separate); so I will put a yoke on her fair neck. I will drive (the force or power behind) Ephraim, Judah must plow, and Jacob must break up the ground.

Ephraim – Fruitful. The experienced ability to Recognizes fruit and separate the fruit from the vine – discerns wheat from chaff. – lie from truth – One who discerns the truth – fruitful in living and attaches him or her-self to what is fruitful.

Judah – Praise. David and Jesus were defendants of the tribe of Judah.

1Samuel 30:6 – (while in exile) David was in great danger because his men were bitter about losing their sons and daughters (during a raid on their camp), and they began to talk of stoning him. David strengthened (encouraged) himself in the Lord.

Encouraging ourselves in the Lord is a lost ART. We would rather have someone else pray for us, then to take advantage of the weapons, and position we have as sons and daughters of God. This is why the hear, respond, obey movement is so valuable, as it establishes a firm foundation that can be built upon. (t-shirt)

Which reality are you choosing to believe?

Because what we see is becoming more turbulent, and the frequency of the appearance of struggle and distress is in front of us, we must decide which side of reality we land on. Gods reality, or what we see?

Change your perspective, and you will change the way you live and respond to your visible reality.

David changed his perspective by encouraging himself in the Lord

How do I encourage myself in the Lord? Do the very thing that builds your ability to hear and believe God. PRAISE & WORSHIP / PRAYER in the SPIRIT.

Jacob – Sup-planter – takes over, over throw, strategy and scheme. May God protect. Listening to Gods Spirit establishes a plan of strategy for living. Being led by Gods spirit enables us to over-throw the fear our natural reality creates, (abundant living) so that God becomes the ruler of our hearts and Minds – especially our minds, which is where our emotional response exist.

Where are you in this conversation?

3 things we must do today!

1). We must discern what is wheat (fruit) and what is chaff (bad yoke, that produces fear, doubt, anxiousness, worry, stress) in our lives; attach ourselves to what produces fruit.

2). We must praise, worship and pray in the Spirit till our belief in God (and what he is able to do) becomes firm and his voice hear-able.

3). We must mix faith in God (God strategy) with our belief, so that we over-throw the fear of our circumstances (or what our eyes see).

Insecurity: The open door to FEAR?

Pray for the soil and fruit.
God’s conversation for us tonight. 

You see, it’s easy to shout, praise and worship in church, as we are in His Presence, around people that believe like we do. This makes us comfortable. But our God wants to talk about what happens to us the moment we walk out of the atmosphere of a church service and back into life, why our victorious shouts give way to or bows to life’s defining… the feeding of our fear and insecurity.

 

Many will walk away not knowing how to do life with Christ. You can be in the presence of anyone and not know who they are. (Tom Cruise) Many know me for what I can do, but not who I am. 

 

Ask yourself: What’s defining you? Which definition of your life will you serve?

Insecurity is: uncertainty, anxiety; lack of confidence, Self-doubt, and inhibition, all of these leave us in the state of being open to danger or threat; having a lack of protection.

Heres what I know: Satan will take advantage of our insecurity. This is because we do not know who we are in life and how to do life with God. Your identity is like a void that Satan fills with circumstance. The real you, your spiritual identity, is in need of affirmation right now and Father wants to chat with us about how insecurity opens the door to FEAR.

 

The Lord said to me one day, Lester often in life, my people pray – “Lord show-up in my circumstance, while God is praying for the real you to show up in your circumstance.”

 

Proverbs 29:25 – the fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe.

 

The only way we overcome insecurity, is through spirit-led living (obedience). The more we allow ourselves to be led by God’s Spirit, the more we trust Him with our lives; The less we remain uncertain of our identity and our destiny.

 

This is why we need Faith Groups Leaders, as it not only builds relationships with others (which is important in a large ministry), but also teaches us how to be accountable to the Holy Spirit (this is why insecurity exists – we put too much confidence in ourselves, as opposed to submission to God) — We need each other.

 

Insecurity causes:

1). Insecurity causes us to forget who we are –
What’s defining you? Circumstance – identity is the key to successful Christian living and obedience to God is success

Romans 8:14-17 – Those who are led by the spirit of God are called the sons on God. God has not given us a spirit…. Slave to fear…but a spirit of son-ship

Men – I am a Spiritual Son of God
Ladies – I am a spiritual daughter of God

 

John 1:12 – To all who receive Him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.

 

2). Insecurity causes un-renewed thinking –
Romans 12:1-3 Paul said, in view of God’s mercy, offer yourselves as a living sacrifice holy and pleasing to God. Do not be conformed to the thinking (ways) of this world, but be transformed in your mind, (how) by doing life with God.

If God is going to change the way we live, He must first change the way we think. This comes by doing life with God. Insecurity cannot exist in the spiritual son or daughter that is doing life with God or doing spirit-led living. This is key, insecurity causes us to imagine things are happening that are not, distorting God’s perspective of our lives. This causes us to be indecisive and inconsistent

2 Corinthians 10:5 – cast down imaginations, and every high thing that exalts itself against what God knows.

Otherwise, we find ourselves in disillusionment. Disillusionment is the discovery that something is not as good as we thought it was going to be. This is why many believers compromise, and eventually turn from the things of God. Unless we participate with God in life, we are only accepting him for salvation, but have not accepted him in all other areas of our lives. We are saved in order to know God and who we are IN HIM.

 

3). Insecurity gives way to fear –
Fear feeds insecurity in that Fear keeps us enslaved to circumstance. The One Thing no one wants to give up is Control. Fear is designed to keep you in control. (remember the temptation of Jesus)

Control is the very thing Father wants us to lose.

Control produces anxiety and stress, which takes physical years off of our lives, slowly wearing us down, causing our ability to believe God to become muddy.

Phil. 4:6 – Be anxious for nothing. In all things through prayer and supplication and with thanks giving… and the peace of God will guard your

Psalm 139:23 – Search me oh god know my heart…

Anxiousness can lead us down a destructive path, as it conflicts with the plan and timing of God.

 

Galatians 1:10 – Paul says, am I still trying to gain the approval of men, or of God? Am I trying to please man? If I’m still trying to please man, than I cannot be a servant of Christ.

 

4). Insecurity produces Performance based Christianity. 

The Lord said to me in the parking lot of the Millennia Mall, Lester, do you want the applause of men, or my approval?

There is a performance mind-set we all must guard against; because we often view our foundation of Christianity by what we do (but what we have in Him is not by works). What you do can never define who you are in Him. And what you do for God, can never take the place of the identity you gain through Spirit-led living.

If we continue to live a performance based Christian life, we will always Fear faith. If we live out of a spirit of fear, we will never learn to be led by God. If we are not being led, then we will never be defined as spiritual sons and daughters. You may know in your mind that you are God’s child, but knowing and living are two completely different perspectives. Perspective is everything.

We have to consistently Practice Faith. The body of Christ is afraid to practice faith, because we are afraid to fail. We are afraid of being spirituality wrong. The picture we paint, is that we have to have it all together and this feeds our insecurity. But the truth is, many of the spiritual principals we believe must be practiced so they can be perfected. Even God practiced with the prophet Jeremiah in Jeremiah 1, before sending him out to Israel.

 

5). Insecurity causes us to Believe the Lie over the Truth

John 16:13 – when he the spirit of truth comes, he will lead you into all truth.

In life, It’s easier and convenient to believe the lie over the truth, because the lie is easier to come-by and does not cost us anything. This is due to the deceptive nature that wars in us. The lie of our circumstance looks more appealing to us because we can see it (the elephant in the room is we cannot see God, so we struggle to believe the unseen God’s defining of us). To believe the truth though, we must be willing to give up our lives (our natural perspective) in order to agree with God in life, circumstance, past, present and future. The truth is…

***The areas in which we fear faith, are the areas in which we find the darkest shades of Grey.***

God revealed is Key

Exodus 33 – What is distinguishing you?

The very life we have given to Jesus, we take back when we live out of fear. Jesus wants you to give up your life, so that you can Have Life.

He who began the good work in you is faithful to complete it.

Many of us do not understand the Good Work… what is the good work?

Identity:
Your heavenly Father has worked your entire life to convince you of what He already knows about you, that you are a son and daughter of the most High God, and all that is His — is yours!!!

As believers we cannot focus on what were saved from, but what we are being saved into… spiritual identity.

 

Practice:
Three areas of practice.

1). Listening – We must become familiar with Gods voice “in life.”

2). Responding – We must practice responding to God – communicate and talk back to God.

3). Obey – We must take the risk faith requires in order to see God revealed. The only thing that will distinguish you and me in Christianity today is “God Revealed” and this comes through obedience. Guys, it’s through obedience that our love for God becomes a reality.

John 14: if you love me you will obey what I say…

If we are living out of a spirit of fear, then we are being defined by our insecurities and our love is no more than an affection.

 

Like in the movie Rocky… We cannot let Satan put a finger in our face and intimidate us through circumstance, potentially robbing us of our identity. The Lord says – Until you start believing who I say you are, you are never going to really live – you may be breathing, you may be existing, but you are not alive! I have come that you may have life and live it to the full.

 

As a Dad I have reconciled that my girls can be whatever they want, and they can do whatever they want, live like they want… but, the reality is, they have my last name and that comes with great benefit, but also great responsibility.

As sons and daughters of God, we have God’s name etched on our hearts. God is convinced about who you are, you bear his name. There is nothing you can do, or say, that will convince God otherwise. He says you are a son and you are a daughter, and He wants you to live an abundant life… He wants you to see Him revealed in every aspect of your life.

What are you afraid of? – what is defining you?

When you have finished reading this message, you will come toe-to-toe with life, with circumstance. Choose this day which Identity you will believe so you can choose this day whom you will serve!! 

Now it’s your turn to respond to Father – God has spoken to your heart. Now it’s your turn to speak to Him.

Are you unsure of who you are? Do you want to be a son or daughter of God?

Fear

Circumstance is defining you and you want to live as a spiritual son and daughter, but you cannot get past the fear. God wants to assure you today that as sons and daughters, greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world!!!!!

Have questions? Want to become a son or daughter of God?

Comment below or email me: singles@faithassembly.org

Back-2-Basics: Relationships – Intimacy & Sex Part 2

In a society filled with pornography where lust is glorified, sex is cheap, marriage is portrayed as nothing but a problem and living together a solution, where men and women are viewed as nothing more than a body made to gratify the lust of our flesh and the sexual orientation of a man or woman is compromised by the lie of Satan (Cole pg. 86) – it is refreshing to see that God is raising up a generation who are still willing to do things Gods way. 

Quick Points: 

1). VIRGINITY – Living together, and, or, being in a sexual relationship has become common practice among those who call themselves Christians.

a). What is their justification?

b). Why is there compromise concerning the institution of Marriage?

Those who are willing to save themselves for marriage are the minority in society and are often met with criticism and even potential abuse.  Among the believers, Virginity should be commonplace. There are many even among the so-called-faithful, who compromise and battle in this area.

Recommended:
There is Power in Being Single

~ by Larry Reese

The Virginity of a man or woman is the one area in relationship where we see tangible representation of moral security, meaning, sex is a spiritual act, reserved for a husband and a wife. In lay-mans terms, Virginity is a tangible representation of something spiritual. Sex is both physical and spiritual – it’s the one act in which two individuals submit themselves completely to each other, literally exposing themselves physical, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. This is why Virginity is so valuable.

 

2). SEXUAL ABUSE – Sexual abuse has become more-and-more a common conversation among (mostly) women, but men as well.  Often abuse leaves sexual scars that carry over into marriage, unless there is healing – this healing, which comes from God, establishes a new emotional and physical platform for sexual intimacy.

Two types of abuse:

a). Permissive sexual abuse – consensual – both parties know what they are doing and are in agreement – this usually leaves both emotionally abused, which leads to a void that in their minds can only be filled with more sex (giving way to multiple sexual partners). In addition, this abuse has spiritual ramifications, in that submission to a husband or wife becomes more difficult outside of the marriage bed, and even that too is compromised.

b). Un-permissive sexual abuse – non consensual – one party forces him or herself on the other. This leaves the victim emotionally and physically scarred.

 

Sex is the highest physical act of Love between two people to show and express their union (unity) in spirit, which is a covenant relationship (Cole, pg. 87) As much as Sex is a physical act, Sex must be seen as spiritual. The problem we run into as believers, is we do not live-out the other aspects of our relationship with a covenant mind-set, so when it comes to Sex, we do not appreciate the covenant value, only the physical value it brings. If we are going to have satisfying sex with our spouse, we must have satisfying (unifying) life with our spouse.

 

The Covenant

The covenant we have with God in relationship affords us the opportunity to live a “Resurrected Life”  (or New life) in him through Christ Crucified. Christ is the fulfillment of God’s covenant with us, so, no longer is there the sacrifice of animals, because Jesus was the sacrifice – or the circumcision of a man, because now we have circumcision of the heart when we accept Jesus. Father’s covenant with us says we are no longer slaves or servants, but sons and daughters, which teaches us how to love Him and be loved by Him.

This covenant is realized in full through our participatory living with God, (obedience and submission) so that we do not take on the same perspective spiritually, that we tend to take on sexually –

Self gratifying – The perspective that God (or his presence) is just a fix that I need in order to get by.

You see, if we treat our spouse as the means for a “sexual fix,” then we are distorting the covenant relationship, causing a divide in the unity. If we are not careful, we will treat God the same way, seeing him as “the Fix,” or “a fix,” but never doing life with Him (causing a divide in the covenant relationship).

Often we see this concerning worship, we tend to worship God’s presence (because of how it makes us feel) more that we worship God (This is called a Spiritual Orgasm). Remember, you can be in the presence of anyone, but not know who they are. As believers, the covenant relationship should never be compromised by our need for fulfillment, but, understanding, that as a marriage, husbands and wives submit to each other, so that the covenant is fulfilled and lived.

Sex becomes easy when a husband and wife are submitting to each other in life. 

 

Like spirituality, we often look for a physical fix (by way of God’s Spirit), but we do not know how to do life with God. The more we submit to God in life, the easier it is to get to know the real God… God revealed through Obedience.  As we submit to each other in Life, as husband and wife, sexual intimacy serves as a bi-product of submission, which is man revealing himself to his wife, and the woman revealing herself to her husband.

 

When we do not submit to each other in life, we will always dip into the (Honey Pot), meaning we will always look somewhere else for fulfillment. Submitting to each other in life preserves and grows the love we have for each other, (obedient love) but selfishness in the relationship, feeds our need to be satisfied, and when we are no longer satisfied by our spouse, (physically, emotionally, and in communication), we will always look to someone or something else.  Once the honey in the Honey Pot is gone, it becomes clear (meaning we feel justified) to our selfish nature, that we need fulfillment from another source. This often occurs in multiple ways, but the most common is Pornography (primarily because of how easily accessible it is).

Other ways include:

  1. Emotional relationships that eventually turn physical
  2. A change or conflict in sexual orientation, which leads to homosexual experimentation
  3. An intense focus on another area of life, like a job or career, which leads to ignoring the relationship

This is why the submission principal is so key to the physical (sexual) well–being of the relationship, as the unity created spiritually through submitted sex serves to establish an unbreakable bond of friendship, which at the core of all of this is what is usually lacking.  Often we will (love) our spouse out of obligation, but do not know how to be friends.

A man and a woman need to know how to be friends with each other, to know how to be a husband and a wife. (Cole, pg. 122) again, this gets lost, because of a lack of submission.

 

Colossians 3: 18 – Wives Submit yourselves to your husbands, as is fitting in (this word ‘in’ implies that you are submitting Gods way – not submission to a mans selfish or self-centeredness, but submitting as you would submit to God) the Lord.

Colossians 3:19 – Husbands, love (obedient submissive love-love from God’s perspective) your wives and do not be harsh (harshness comes from selfish ambition) with them.  Men – lust is a perverted and distorted version of love. Love desires to satisfy others, even at the expense of self (submission). Lust desires to gratify self, even at the expense of others.  (Cole, pg. 92)

In wrapping up the conversation on Intimacy and Sex, we must always be mindful of the value of unity. I cannot stress enough the need for unity in living, as this will greatly affect the marriage bed. In order to solidify unity, we must PRACTICE submission. I use the word practice intentionally, as this is a daily process. Even the apostle Paul confessed to “dying daily” in 1 Cor. 15:31 and in Luke 9:23 Jesus encouraged the believer saying “a true disciple submits their life daily and takes up their cross to follow Him.”

If we are not willing to practice submitting our lives fully to Christ (who has already submitted his life), then we will struggle to submit to our spouse. If submission is not being practice, then there is not unity. Remember,  SUBMISSION equates to faith and trust, all of which are aspects of GRACE, but an unwillingness to submit, means you are subject to the Law, and if you live by the law, you will die by the Law.  Grace serves as a buffer (balance) between the sin nature and your spirit.  As you get to know Father in relationship, submitting to Him in life, the Sin Nature diminishes in value causing you to grow into (or in confidence) your Spiritual Identity.

Back-2-Basics: Relationships – Intimacy & Sex Part 1

Intimacy

“Trust Makes Vulnerability possible. Lack of trust makes it impossible” (Cole, pg.45)

It is often difficult to talk about one’s level of intimacy with others, because in our minds, intimacy equates to Sex. But the truth is, in any relationship, there are levels of intimacy that occur. TRUST is at the core of our interpretation of LOVE. In fact, in order to give oneself away fully, there has to be a level of trust that has been established by extensive experience with someone. This experience is what provides us with healthy perspective.

Healthy Perspective is everything. 

 

TRUST leads to SUBMISSION.

Jesus said in John 14:15 If you LOVE me you will obey what I say – this level of Love has its origin in Obedience, and establishes a strong unbreakable level of Trust through submissive obedient experience. The provisions of this love are, Identity, security, and Stability (Cole, pg.46), which are key for developing a solid relationship. From Submission, Jesus says, we are able to receive (Believe Him) the Spirit of Truth, a helper who dwells in us forever.

Submission (Honey Pot) is at the core of Intimacy, which leads to unity. Often the great struggle in Intimacy between two people is:

 

Unity

The primary reason why we struggle to be unified in Relationship or marriage is because we are selfish.  The example of Christ selflessness should be enough for us to reconcile in our mind, will and emotions the need for Submission – but, the truth is, it does not work that way. In fact, the only way we get to a place of unity between two individuals with individual personalities, likes, dis-likes, wants, needs etc. is the practice of selflessness.  By practice, I mean we intentionally go against our need to be right, have our way, and submit to each other in life, so that unity exist.

 

Our Words and Actions play a profound role in Unified Relationship and Intimacy. 

Words

Our words will either increase the bonds of Unity, or destroy the Unity we have in marriage, causing our spouse to put up a protective wall in order to guard against future attacks.

As a married man, and a man with a strong personality, I know first hand the level at which my words effect the Unity between my wife and I. Early in marriage, Holly and I would have a dis-agreement, in which my focus would be on one solitary thing, winning the argument! In fact, I would be so focused on winning that I didn’t even care what we were in dis-agreement about, I just wanted to win at any cost, even if it meant manipulation. Holly always called my bluff though. My need to be right and for her to see that my way was right, caused me to literally lose my mind, saying things that I would regret – saying things that would cause Holly to build a wall of hardness to guard against being hurt.

 

The Wall

I knew that Holly loved me, but the wall that she built for protection, was affecting other areas of our marriage. No matter what I did over the years, my words would continue to serve as another layer or brick in that wall which would effect our communication and intimacy as a couple. As a male, there is truly something to be said for getting rid of the ego and humbly submitting yourself in the areas you know you carry pride and un-renewed thinking. The unfortunate truth is, all the sorry in the world will not cure or pull down a wall built by a spouse – only prayerful change in attitude and action will soften the heart of your spouse and bring unity back into the relationship – even then, this takes time. If time was and has been spent building a wall, then it will take time to see it torn down. Understand, that praying alone, does not fix the problem. If you and I are not willing to listen to and believe our spouse about the legitimacy of their pain, then we will not be able to hear Gods Spirit when he tries to lead us into the words that he knows will keep us in Unity.

 

Remember, that as believers, the level at which we are submitted to Gods Spirit, will come-out in the level at which submit to our spouse, and in other relationships. You may think you are submitted to Gods Spirit, but the reality is, you are not as submitted as you think you are, if you remain selfish in relationship.